Ricky Walden to play Mark Allen in shock Players Championship Final

The 2015/16 snooker season continues to throw up surprises as the Players Championship Final guarantees a seventh winner of seven different major ranking competitions.

Ricky Walden to play Mark Allen in shock Players Championship Final
Mark Allen has won one minor ranking tournament this season (photo: Getty Images)

Easter Sunday's final is almost too close to call as world number 11 Ricky Walden takes on world number 10 Mark Allen in what is bound to be an exciting clash.

Contrasting semi-finals in Manchester

Walden was in fine form as he eased past Barry Hawkins in a 6-3 victory that included five half century breaks and a century. Walden raced into a 4-1 lead and never looked back as he continues a good run of form in the tournament that has seen him drop just seven of 25 frames.

Mark Allen had a much tighter encounter as he took on favourite Shaun Murphy. Allen found himself 3-1 and 4-2 down, despite a break of 134 in the third frame. Yet Murphy only just edged through his quarter-final match with Ben Woollaston after a couple of lucky breaks and the nerves were evident oncemore. Allen dug in and managed to win four consecutive frames on his route to the final.

Seven from seven

No matter who wins the final, it will be a seventh different winner of the seven major ranking competitions that have been played this season. With Ronnie O'Sullivan continuing to suffer with his back and seemingly losing his passion for the game, gone are the days where one man dominated the sport as he, Stephen Hendry and Steve Davis once did.

Although The Rocket still leads the way on win percentage this season, he has only played yeh major ranking matches. The likes of Martin Gould, Mark Selby, Allen, Shaun Murphy, John Higgins, Barry Hawkins, Kyren Wilson, Neil Robertson, Ding Junhui, Marco Fu and Ryan Day have all played at least twice as many matches and are within 10% of wins this season.

O'Sullivan may have claimed to have been bored of snooker a couple of months ago, but this week another tournament has once again proved the sport to be in the best shape it has ever been.